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Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Kapil Dev vs Imran Khan

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Friday Fights - Imran Khan vs Kapil Dev

SportsCafe

Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Kapil Dev vs Imran Khan

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Bastab K Parida

02/26/2021

Two of the greatest all-rounders of the sport, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan played their cricket with a lot of passion and zeal and were two of the biggest forces who had a cauldron at their mercy. The debate about their greatness will never end but can we try at least?

Earlier, we had two of the talismanic names from the sub-continent in the ring for their batting exploits, but today, we’ll take a step further and analyze their overall abilities from a wholesome glass. Both were genuinely great all-rounders and World-Cup winning captains but the fact that our bouts normally settle the score in a metronomic way, things will have a clear ending. For the February 26 edition of the Friday Fights, let’s welcome them to the ring and clear the doubts once and for all.

ROUND 1 -> BATTING AVERAGE:  IMRAN TO GET US GOING!

In terms of batting, there is a little to differentiate the duo with the Pakistani having picked up the batting momentum in the last few years in international cricket while Kapil Dev was always a natural. That Tunbridge Wells Century stands tall as the epitome but here the narrative flips. Imran, with an average of 33.41, leaves Kapil’s ODI average of 23.79 behind and secures his first 10-pointer of the bout.

Imran 10 - 9 Kapil

ROUND 2 ---> BOWLING AVERAGE: IMRAN ESTABLISHES EARLY DOMINANCE!

After taking the early honours in the first round, Imran rides the momentum to land another sucker punch despite Kapil trying his best to move away from the line. I mean just look at it, Imran’s 26.61 is lined up just perfectly against the Indian’s 27.45 but it was the marginal call that would decide the fortunes.

Imran 10 - 9 Kapil

ROUND 3 --> RUNS PER INNINGS (ICC TOURNAMENTS): THREE-PEAT DENIED!

The current Pakistan Prime Minister had a great chance of doing a three-peat but the “Junoon” that defined the era of Kapil Dev mustered all fanaticism to do a 10-pointer for himself. In big events, Kapil rises and how! A simple look at the perhaps greatest ODI innings played by an Indian would tell you everything you need to know about the Haryana Hurricane, even though Imran gave a close fight. It ends up at 27.87 (KD) vs 27.75 (IK) and we have a new winner for this round.

Imran 9 - 10 Kapil

ROUND 4 -> BOWLING AVERAGE (ICC TOURNAMENTS): KAPIL BLOWN AWAY TO SMITHEREENS!

One of the greatest captains in the history of the sport, you can’t really keep Imran Khan in a box because like many things with him, he finds a way. Because look at this! THIS IS INSANE! The 1992 World Cup-winning skipper has a World Cup bowling average of 19.26 as compared to Kapil’s 31.85. KAPIL IS KNOCKED DOWN! This is a crucial moment in the bout! Does he have it in him to get up and fight again?

Imran 10 - 6 Kapil

ROUND 5 ---> FREQUENCY OF FIFTY-PLUS SCORES: IMRAN ON A ROLL!

In every 7.55 innings, Imran Khan gets to the fifty-run mark, which was absolutely terrific for someone who was known for his bowling primarily. When we line that statistics with Kapil, who has shown tremendous resilience to rise up and fight again, it creates another systematic imbalance with his 13.2 innings average dragging the score far behind. 

Imran 10 - 7 Kapil

ROUND 6 ---> WICKETS PER INNINGS: STOP THE PRESS!!

As someone, whose father and grandfather were massive Kapil Dev fans, this is heartbreaking for me. Kapil seems to have lost the momentum already despite putting up some valiant punches back at the face of the Pakistani all-rounder. Imran’s 1.18 wickets per innings is slightly better than Kapil’s 1.06 and that will be a win for the former in the sixth round.

Imran 10 - 9 Kapil

ROUND 7 ---> STRIKE-RATE (BATTING): WELCOME TO THE KAPIL TERRITORY!

The man, who once hit four consecutive sixes to help the side avoid follow-on can’t really be a bad hitter of the ball in limited-overs cricket, can he? In the ODI cricket, Kapil batted like there was no tomorrow, striking at 95.07 as compared to Imran’s 72.65. This is an important round for Kapil to salvage the game!

Imran 7 - 10 Kapil

ROUND 8 -> ECONOMY RATE: TWO IN TWO FOR KAPIL!

As big a hitter as he was, one of Kapil’s biggest strengths was not to allow the batsmen settle in and go big against him. His economy rate of 3.71 typifies that statement. Even though the Pakistani all-rounder has an ER of 3.89, that is still 0.18 more than the Indian and with that, Kapil takes two in two. Too late, perhaps?

Imran 9 - 10 Kapil

ROUND 9 -----> BATTING AVERAGE AS CAPTAIN: IMRAN IS BACK TO STAMP HIS AUTHORITY!

Imran’s formative years as a batsman was pretty moderate but he aged like a fine wine to accentuate his reputation as a batsman. As a captain, his batting mirrors that progress, with Imran averaging 34.91 as a batsman when he led the team as compared to Kapil Dev’s 30.66. Looks like he has sealed the game, hasn’t he?

Imran 10 - 9 Kapil

FINAL ROUND -----> NO OF BALLS BOWLED PER GAME: GAME OVER!

It is humongous, ladies and gentlemen. In the final round of the battle, Imran Khan takes the honours and how! Bowling 42.63 balls on an average in a game is no mean feat and Kapil, who bowls an average of 50.86 in a single game, understands the same before bowing away. 

Imran 10 - 8 Kapil

WINNER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION - IMRAN KHAN

FINAL SCORE: IMRAN KHAN 95 - 87 KAPIL DEV

WHAT A BOUT WE JUST HAD!! It was a terrific battle between two of the all-time finest all-rounders ODI cricket has ever seen but Imran dominated the proceedings all throughout to take the Friday honours for this week. We will be back with a bang with another supercool edition of Friday Fights. Ciao!

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